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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Struggling Imagine Charter up for contract extension

It's been in deep financial turmoil. It is struggling to make a passing school grade. Yet, Pinellas County school leaders are proposing extending the charter agreement for the 250-student Imagine elementary charter school in St. Petersburg by one year, with the caveat that continued problems next fall could result in its closure.

Pinellas school board members will vote on whether to approve the extension on Tuesday.

From page 351 of Tuesday's May 22 board agenda packet, here's the "rationale" for superintendent John Stewart's anticipated recommendation:

Performance measurements for the school’s financial condition and student academic achievement warrant only a one-year extension to its current charter, not the usual five-year renewal. In 2010, the school was in deteriorating financial condition. The required Corrective Action Plan was deployed and the school’s management company forgave past debt. Recently, the school began to once again struggle financially and will again be required to identify the necessary steps to improve its financial solvency through a new Corrective Action Plan.

Imagine K-5 has earned the following school grades: 2008-09-F, 2009-10-F, 2010-11-D.

We recommend only a one-year contract renewal with a modification to the curriculum and instructional strategies based upon the financial and academic record of the school. When the school receives a grade this summer and when the 2011-2012 audit is completed in October we will have sufficient information to decide whether or not the school has earned any further extension. Our options at that time would include closing the school with ninety-day notice, or notifying the school that we do not plan to extend the charter beyond the school year.

The chairman of the Imagine board has agreed to the one year extension.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 17, 2012 12:53pm]


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